Former New Jersey Judge Convicted of Second DWI Offense by Sparta Township Court

It seems that nearly anyone can run afoul of the law, even those who are responsible for upholding it. Take the case of a former municipal court judge who served in Morris County, New Jersey, until a 2007 drunk driving conviction cost him his job.

Now, two years after that first DWI conviction, George R. Korpita has found himself once again before the court, convicted of driving while intoxicated, careless driving, failure to keep right and refusing a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop in February 2008.

After admitting to his alcoholism in a Sparta Township courtroom — he stated that he regularly attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and had been sober for 11 months — Korpita received a suspended 45-day jail term for his latest offense. Municipal Court Judge John E. Mulhern then ordered Korpita to pay close to $2,000 in fines and immediately surrender his driver’s license.

The judge also suspended Korpita from driving for two years and seven months, and ordered him to continue attending AA meetings six days a week for the next two years — the court made it clear that he must attend every meeting or risk being jailed. Korpita’s defense lawyer said his client fully intends to make an appeal.

Korpita, who had served on the municipal courts of Dover, Rockaway Borough and Victory Gardens, stepped down from his position in Morris County in December 2007 after admitting to driving drunk in Roxbury, NJ, where he also threatened the arresting officers. At the time of that sentencing, he received three years’ probation and was ordered to complete 100 days of community service, as well as the loss of his driver’s license for 12 months. Korpita’s law license also was suspended by the state of New Jersey for three months, and he agreed to forfeit all his judgeships and promised never to hold another public position again.

Municipal prosecutor Victor Jusino said that Korpita’s previous position as a judge, with power to determine the fate of other people, was a key factor in the court’s decision to issue a harsh sentence for this second drunk driving offense. “This is not a garden-variety DWI, or a second garden-variety DWI,” Jusino said. “This isn’t the first time he’s done it.”

Former judge must remain sober or face jail for DWI, APP.com, March 20, 2009

Former NJ judge convicted of 2nd DWI charge, newsday.com, March 19, 2009